Building a Pocket Park in Marianna, Florida (Part 1)

In this special two-part episode of Today’s Homeowner, we’re building a pocket park in Marianna, Florida, my hometown.

In October of 2018, Hurricane Michael hit the Florida Panhandle, reducing many homes and businesses in Marianna to rubble. Among them was one on Lafayette Street in the historic town square, which people pass every day.

This eyesore was a bad reminder of a bad time, and my buddy Paul Donofro, a second-generation architect, had a plan to replace it.

“Today’s Homeowner” hosts Danny Lipford and Chelsea Lipford Wolf, standing at a pocket park in Marianna, Florida
This cleared lot in Marianna, Florida will soon become a pocket park.

About Pocket Parks

Empty lots between two buildings and backed by another building, resembling a pocket, often are converted into parks, hence the name.

Pocket parks provide a public place for entertainment, picnics and recreation, and the one Paul planned will replace a constant reminder of Hurricane Michael’s devastation.   

We learned about Paul’s plans and wanted to help out, providing construction and media resources, and organizing volunteers. So now, we’re building Lafayette Landing Park in downtown Marianna.

And we’re bringing hope to my hometown.

1920s mural featuring Wrigley's New Peppermint Gum and an ad for United Profit Sharing coupons
The mural on this masonry dates back to the early 20th century.

A Historic Mural

Before we begin work on the pocket park, we check out the area. Hurricane Michael reduced much of this building to trash, but there is one treasure: Workers uncovered a historic mural behind the building’s stucco walls.

The mural, which appears on the adjacent building’s masonry, features an ad for Wrigley’s Doublemint chewing gum. The text says, “The New Peppermint Gum, Wrapped in United Profit Sharing Coupons.”

Early in the 20th century, Wrigley’s was one of many businesses that worked with the United Profit Sharing Corporation to reward customers for purchases. If you bought a pack of chewing gum, you received coupons redeemable for other products.

Though this is similar to accumulating points and redeeming them for goods and services, the mural marks a bygone era — and this piece of history is going nowhere.

So, workers sealed the surface to preserve it for generations to come.

Oversized wood planters at a pocket park in Marianna, Florida
Marianna High School students built these oversized planters for a pocket park in Marianna, Florida.


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